South Korea and Mercosur agreed to begin formal negotiations for a trade deal in the latter half of this year to facilitate commerce and investment, the Seoul government said on Friday. South Korea signed an agreement to launch the negotiations with four Mercosur member states -- Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay -- during a ceremony held in Seoul. Mercosur expelled Venezuela in 2016 for failing to meet its basic standards.
Mercosur trade bloc looks to begin economic and trade talks with Japan as soon as November, Brazil's foreign minister said, calling trade with Asia essential to regional economic health as the U.S. embraces protectionism.
The European Union and Mercosur have made some progress on how to open their markets to cars, but ended free trade talks in Brussels on Friday with finger-pointing about who was holding up a deal. The EU and the Mercosur bloc of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay began on-off negotiations towards a trade alliance in 1999, with a fresh impetus since 2016.
Argentina's central bank surprised markets at the end of the week by jolting its key interest rate up to 30.25% from 27.25%, citing weakness of the local peso against the US dollar and vowing to act again if high inflation persists.
While Chilean President Sebastián Piñera started a commercial tour in Brazil last Thursday, in which he avoids Uruguay because the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Chile is blocked in the Uruguayan Parliament since 2016, ex-president José Mujica explained that he supports the FTA with Chile in order to look for “the best incentives to ensure commercial stability.” The bench of former president Mujica and the communist party refuse to approve the commercial agreement.
European Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan insisted there would be no deal with Mercosur unless negotiators are fully satisfied strong standards will apply to all produce. It comes as another round of the negotiations on Mercosur got under way in Brussels this week.
The Falklands population is crucial for any solution to the Argentine claim over the Islands given their overwhelming support from British public opinion (and political system), and its full integration with the 53-nation Commonwealth, according to Argentine ex diplomat Jorge Lidio Viñuela, considered an expert and militant on the issue of South Atlantic insular claims.
Paraguay's Mario Abdo Benitez, “Marito”, who represents the country's long-dominant Colorado Party, was elected as president on Sunday, landing the top job in the country with the smallest economy in Mercosur. The US-educated son of a senior aide to the country's late dictator, Abdo Benitez won slightly more than 46% of the vote, with his centrist opponent Efrain Alegre taking almost 43% in a race that was far closer than expected.
China and South Korea are seeking to establish free trade agreements with Mercosur in a strategic response to Washington's increasingly protectionist stance. The East Asian initiatives have resonated well in a region where Washington is keeping its distance. U.S. President Donald Trump has not visited a single Latin American country since taking office in January 2017, and chose not to attend the Summit of the Americas, which recently concluded in Peru.
Starbucks has opened with great success its first store in Uruguay at the Montevideo Shopping mall in the capital city Montevideo. The store has a unique design and offers a wide range of Starbucks beverages and food, including Starbucks 100% arabica coffees from Latin America and around the world.